Depleted Pak to rely on Kaneria against Windies

Published: Friday, November 10, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:Pakistan's hopes rest on leg-spinner Danish Kaneria in the first of three Tests against the West Indies starting here from Saturday, following the ouster of its dope-tainted main pace duo.

Shoaib Akhtar was banned for two years and Mohammad Asif for one year after both tested positive for banned steroid nandrolone last week, badly denting the once feared Pakistan pace attack.

Captain Inzamamul Haq hoped Kaneria would do well on a slow-paced Gaddafi stadium wicket to make up for the loss of the two strike bowlers.

"It is tough to play without the two key bowlers and this put more pressure on Kaneria who has been our key wicket-taking bowler," said Inzamam, who will return to the field after serving an ICC ban.

The International Cricket Council banned Inzamam for four one-day internationals for bringing the game into disrepute during Pakistan's last Test against England at the Oval in August.

"I hope all the boys rise up to the occasion, the team will need a combined effort to win a Test," said Inzamam.

West Indian coach Bennett King said the loss of strike bowlers would deplete any side, but admitted Kaneria posed a threat to his team.

"Kaneria is their strike bowler," King said.

"We played Kaneria quite well in West Indies where the wickets also turned. He had a good game in Jamaica but he's still a bowler who we would be looking to score off at every opportunity," said King, who took over two years ago.

The 41-year-old King hoped his players raise their game at Test level.

West Indies have won only one of their last 14 Tests. Their last win came against Pakistan at Barbados last year.

"Our main aim is to work on what we've got and getting our Test game up and running again after four months break from this format of the game," King said.

"Although the period of time for this tour was short but the players have been playing cricket. The only practice match was all about playing cricket and spending more time," said King, whose side drew the two-day game leading to the first Test.

Allrounder Dwayne Bravo hit a brilliant hundred but other leading players were left short on practice.

"It's not ideal for the format that we are playing, but we have been playing a lot of cricket which is certainly beneficial to us," said King, whose side finished runners-up to Australia in the tri-series in Malaysia and in Champions Trophy in India.

Pakistan have uncapped left-arm seamer Samiullah Niazi and left-arm spinner Andul Rehman in their 15-man squad.

The Teams:

West Indies: Brian Lara (capt), Ramnaresh Sarwan, Chris Gayle, Daren Ganga, Lendl Simmons, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Runako Morton, Dwayne Bravo, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Corey Collymore, Fidel Edwards, Daren Powell, Jerome Taylor, Omari Banks and Dave Mohammed

Pakistan: Inzamam-ul-Haq (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Yasir Hameed, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Shoaib Malik, Abdul Razzaq, Faisal Iqbal, Kamran Akmal (wk), Umar Gul, Samiullah Niazi, Shahid Nazir, Abdul Rehman and Danish Kaneria

Umpires: Simon Taufel (Aus), Asoka de Silva (SL) and TV umpire: Nadeem Ghouri (Pak)

Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (SL)


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